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Gym Email Marketing: 10 Emails You Should Be Sending

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Although many may think email is dead—the statistics prove otherwise.

A whopping 83% of global consumers say they prefer email when receiving communications from businesses.

And while many fitness brands may focus largely on social media marketing, email marketing offers complementary and tangible benefits when integrated into your larger marketing strategy.

Creating and sending fitness email newsletters is a powerful way to build stronger relationships with members, improve conversion rates, and generate new leads for your gym or fitness studio.

For gym email marketing to remain effective, you’ll need to keep an eye on industry trends to adapt your marketing strategies for success in 2022 and beyond.

Why gyms need an email marketing strategy

With the global shift to digitization, the use and effectiveness of email marketing have skyrocketed over the past few years.

Maintaining ongoing communication with members is fundamental to maintaining your memberships, engagement, and customer loyalty—especially in the wake of the pandemic—and fitness email marketing is an easy way to do that.

You may be wondering if you need to bother creating and sending fitness newsletters—and the answer is, yes.

Regardless of the size of your business, email campaigns are still an extremely effective and valuable marketing tool.

In fact, research shows that email marketing offers the highest ROI of any marketing channel.

Email marketing is an extremely valuable and widely used marketing method in the fitness industry because it helps businesses and consumers connect, build and maintain strong and ongoing communication.

However, as with anything, with increased importance and demand, also comes increased competition—which is why fitness business owners need to have an updated email marketing strategy in place to stay both relevant and ahead of the curve in 2022.

Before we dive in, here are some other ways having an updated email marketing strategy can help grow your fitness business and build brand awareness:

  • Clearly outlines business goals and objectives, and defines how campaign success will be measured
  • Planning everything out ahead of time by using an email marketing calendar provides consistent clarity and direction regarding the next steps
  • Because you already have things planned out (what you’ll be sending and when), you can automate your email campaigns based on your timeline (drip emails) or user behavior (triggered emails)
  • Tailoring your messages to particular market segments helps increase sales by providing content relevant to that audience, which leads to a higher conversion rate
  • Promoting specialized fitness programs and sharing membership news and updates will help you acquire new customers and retain existing ones
  • Provides an optimal customer buying journey by organizing both nurturing and converting sequences of emails
  • Helps grow your email list with potential members who have already shown interest in your fitness brand
  • Distribution platforms offer analytics and reporting, so you can easily assess the performance of campaigns to refine your efforts as needed
  • A high-performing email marketing funnel alleviates pressure from your advertising campaigns and limited spend

So now that we’ve talked about why fitness email marketing is important—let’s talk about where to start when creating your fitness email marketing strategy.

How to get started with fitness email marketing

An email marketing strategy is a detailed plan of action that provides direction and clarifies the purpose of your email marketing campaigns—meaning, it defines and addresses both the micro- and macro-level business needs and aspects.

A fitness newsletter is a form of email communication that is sent to consumers through your selected distribution service.

Fitness newsletters can be used for a variety of purposes—for example, providing updates about your fitness business, sharing relevant industry news and fitness tips, or celebrating members’ milestones.

While the content will vary depending on the purpose and the audience, the ultimate goal of email marketing is to capture readers’ attention and keep them engaged.

When creating your fitness marketing strategy, be sure to include and address the following considerations:

  • What is your overall objective for each campaign?
  • How many email campaigns will you create?
  • How many parts will there be to your welcome sequence?
  • How should you be segmenting your subscriber and distribution lists?
  •  Which segment of subscribers will receive a specific sequence?
  • When is the best time to send emails?
  • What will each campaign be named, and what will the corresponding subject line be?

Below are other key components that will need to be addressed in your fitness email marketing plan:

Defined business goals and objectives for each campaign

Starting with a clear understanding of your goals and objectives is critical to the success of your email campaigns. The focus of your emails will drive the content and design, as well as the relevancy to your recipients.

Defining the specific goal and what you hope to achieve from each fitness email campaign is critical to overall success—because without knowing how relative success will be measured and assessed, how will you be able to determine the effectiveness of your efforts and calculate ROI?

Choose an email marketing software

To launch an email marketing campaign, you’ll need to start by selecting a distribution platform to create, automate and deliver your campaigns to the relevant audiences.

You’ll also need an online form builder to capture the email addresses from your website traffic to grow your distribution lists and build up your fitness business.

Fortunately, most email marketing software solutions also offer built-in form-building capabilities—so you should be able to accomplish both through one service provider.

Here’s what you should be considering when deciding which email marketing system is best for your gym or fitness studio:

  • User-friendly and easy to build
  • Mobile-responsiveness
  • Ability to create tailored distribution lists

Build, segment, and tailor your gym’s email list

Segmenting your email lists can take some time, but it’s extremely important to the success of your email marketing campaigns.

Sometimes general information newsletters are appropriate to send to everyone, but creating tailored lists enables you to deliver the most engaging and consistent content to the right people.

Keep in mind—if you send too many emails that aren’t relevant to the recipients, you risk getting blocked or even reported for spam. 

Types of email campaigns for fitness businesses

Below is an outline of emails we recommend including in your welcome series:

  1. Welcome email

It may seem like a given, but it’s really important to do something to welcome new gym members as soon as they commit to joining your gym.

Sending a welcome email is one of the easiest ways to provide new members with all the essential information they need, and it allows you to reassure them that joining your facility was the right choice.

And, believe it or not, research shows that more than 8 out of 10 people will open a welcome email, generating 4x as many opens and 10x as many clicks as other email types.

If you’re currently using a gym management software like ours, you can easily create a new member email template and manage membership communication seamlessly. But if you’re still managing membership information and sending emails manually that’s okay, too, and we’re here to help.

When creating your welcome email template, we recommend including these key points:

  • Thank new members for joining and choosing your gym or fitness studio
  • Offer reassurance they made the right choice
  •  Provide information about the next steps and how to get started
  • Include a link to your website where they can find practical information
  • Include contact information in case of any questions

Ideally, you should send more than one welcome email to establish a solid relationship and maintain ongoing communication, so you may want to consider creating a series of introductory emails.

Plus, some members may need that little extra nudge in their inbox every so often to keep them motivated.

  1. General and educational newsletter

Sometimes, a “send all” is warranted—as is the case with general newsletters. The content of these campaigns can vary to keep subscribers “hungry” for more and inspire them to improve their lifestyles. In this way, you can also boost your open rates since your content will always be relevant.

General newsletters, usually sent on a weekly or monthly basis, will typically include information relevant to all members—for example, facility updates or new developments, new and upcoming class offerings and schedules, information about emerging trends in the fitness industry, and more.

A weekly or monthly newsletter should be just as informational as it is promotional. If your gym or fitness studio has a blog, this is a great place to feature your latest posts and increase your social media following.

The content of these campaigns can vary to keep subscribers “hungry” for more and inspire them to improve their lifestyles. In this way, you can also boost your open rates since your content will always be relevant

  1. Class schedules and appointment reminders

Every member is different, with different fitness goals in mind.

Some members will want to work out on machines and equipment on their own, while others will want to participate in group classes like aerobics, yoga, or Pilates.

It’s important to send newsletters with upcoming class schedules so your members can see what you have to offer. Since class schedules are subject to change, it’s a good idea to send monthly emails with a schedule of the following month’s classes

In these emails, you should include the days, times, and instructors, preferably with links to the sign-up pages on your website.

You should also include the ability to add classes to the calendars of subscribers in Google or Outlook, which can help them make a firm commitment to attending.

4.   Referral request

Most of us inherently understand the power of positive reviews.

As a gym owner, you’ve probably read some pretty compelling referral marketing statistics—for example, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know, and they’re four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.

Asking current members for referrals through a newsletter can increase your marketing ROI considerably. By creating a referral campaign, you can increase membership numbers while delighting your current members at the same time.

  1. Fitness milestone emails 

Just like sending any other type of email (confirmation, waitlist, newsletter), you send a milestone email when your customer accomplishes one of their goals or anniversaries at your gym or studio.

When you send a milestone email, it’s the celebratory tone and your enthusiasm that help your customer reaffirm why they made a commitment to your gym or studio in the first place.

Celebrating your gym members’ wins with them will strengthen your relationship, bond, and overall confidence in you as an instructor.

  1. Gym special offers and promotions

Email marketing is a great channel to promote your special offers due to its inherent “personal” nature. Moreover, you can also leverage urgency to create an irresistible message that your subscribers won’t ignore easily.

We’ve all seen a sampling station at the grocery store that allows you to try a new food or drink, but only for that day for a limited time. But after you’ve tasted a sample (if you haven’t before), you can decide if you’d like to take the product home or not.

The same theory applies to new gym members. Some people aren’t ready to make such a huge financial commitment to a new gym, especially when they’ve never used it before.

Offering free 7-day trials allows new potential members to experience your gym’s culture, customer services, and equipment without any required investment on their end.

  1.  Fitness challenges

When it comes to fitness challenges, the opportunities are limitless! You can choose to structure challenges any way you’d like, and it’s a great way to keep your online and offline customers engaged.

But to get members to sign up, they need to know about them first. Sending email newsletters is a great way to inform members of upcoming fitness challenges, which also makes it easy to forward along to their friends who may also have an interest in participating.

So be sure to send occasional newsletters to inform your members any time you launch a fitness challenge, and one or two more times leading up to the challenge before the cut-off date.  

What makes an effective gym marketing email?

Here are five core elements needed to create captivating fitness email campaigns that will immediately catch readers’ attention:

1.   Snappy, attention-grabbing headlines

The subject line is one of the most important parts of your email. We’re all busy people, and most recipients will make a snap judgment about whether or not to read your email based on the headline alone.

To entice readers to open your email, your headline should be a balance between being informative and intriguing.

  1.  High-quality, captivating visuals

Visuals are the first thing we look for, so the reader’s eye will be immediately drawn to whatever visuals you include. Using rich imagery is a great way to highlight an essential point and keep your readers engaged.

But it’s important to find the right balance between text and imagery because using too many images will increase your load times and risk losing the reader’s interest.

3.   Make text easy to scan

The simplicity of your fitness newsletters is key to their readability.

The majority of your subscribers will open your emails on their mobile devices, and long blocks of text can quickly cause readers to lose interest.

Break up your content into shorter, more digestible chunks.

4.   Include a clear call-to-action

If you want your readers to take specific action after reading your email, tell them.

Guide your readers to a clear call-to-action button so they understand the purpose of your email, and make it easy for them to do what you’d like.

5.   Optimize for mobile use

The vast majority of your subscribers will likely be reading your fitness newsletters on their phones or other mobile devices.

For this reason, you want to make sure your template is optimized for mobile use to provide a seamless user experience.

Leveraging email marketing automation

Doing all of the above becomes extremely difficult without the right tool. 

Most email marketers and business owners prefer to leverage email marketing automation for the following key reasons:

  1. Easy to set up and easy to use daily—an intuitive, user-friendly interface is necessary
  2. Capable of supporting both basic and complex automation requirements
  3. Pocket-friendly—no one wants to buy a tool that will cost them an arm and a leg every month

Measure results and tweak future campaigns as needed

In business, it all comes down to the numbers. Gym owners need to be able to calculate revenue over investment (ROI) to determine whether resources are being allocated efficiently.

It’s also crucial to track KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)—for example, open rate, click-through rate, email bounces, and unsubscribe rate.

The data doesn’t lie—so if your campaigns have not been performing well, it’s time to switch it up and try something new. After each campaign, you assess the overall success and tweak things as necessary as you go along.

Conclusion

Email marketing remains one of the most cost-effective and conversion-rich forms of digital marketing in the fitness industry and is consistently proven to be a highly effective marketing tool.

To learn how EZFacility’s all-in-one, cloud-based SaaS solution can improve your gym’s customer relationship management (CRM) and make membership management easy, schedule a free tour or online product demonstration today.

Summer Fitness Event Ideas for 2022

Fun Fitness Event Ideas for Summer 2022

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Whether you’re looking to spread the word about your fitness club’s grand opening (or a new product or service offering), add additional streams of revenue, increase your social media presence, or build brand awareness, fitness events are a fun way gym owners can promote their facility and any summer promotions they may be offering.

Why Host Fitness Events?

As a fitness club owner, strategically incorporating multiple revenue streams is the best way to create a solid foundation for financial success. Fitness events also help build a sense of community, which will keep current members engaged while also attracting new ones. Additionally, posting about your upcoming event on social media will help generate brand awareness and build your online presence.

Fun Fitness Event Ideas

When deciding which event ideas are the best fit for you, be sure to consider your target audience, goals, and budget to ensure you’re hosting events that your current members will love to keep them engaged, while also attracting new potential members.

Looking for some creative event ideas for the summer? Start here.

1.   Socials

Socials give your members and potential members a chance to connect and interact with each other, with the primary goal being to nurture bonds and build a sense of community. Socials create a space for connections so your local community can grow in and outside of your fitness club. Types of social events can include a special after-hours personal training session for a select group, a non-alcoholic night out, or a healthy eating event.

2.   Pop-up fitness class

A pop-up fitness class gives gym owners a way to generate buzz in a new location or with a new class offering. These types of events can attract a new demographic, spread awareness in previously untapped locations and generate more brand awareness. Consider using parks or other public spaces by arranging partnerships with local businesses.

3.   One-off free fitness class

If you’re getting ready to launch a new fitness class or just hired a new instructor, consider offering a one-off free fitness class event. It’s a great way to give potential members an experience with your gym before they commit to a membership. You can invite influencers from the local community to your launch event to generate more buzz around your new class or fitness instructor.

4.   Workout challenges

Workout challenges are a fun way to keep members engaged and working toward their fitness goals. They help your members set challenging yet realistic goals within a time specified timeframe—and when participants start to see the physical results, they’ll also start to associate your fitness club with success and be more motivated to keep coming back. Workout challenges are also a great way for gym owners to generate new leads, increase referrals, and assist in building long term relationships with clients and the local community.

5.   Health and fitness retreats

Health and fitness retreats are growing sectors. They do require more planning and monetary investment, but they can generate a steady stream of income for gym owners. Yoga retreats, mindfulness breaks, and weekends away give your members the opportunity to connect with your fitness club on a personal level and elevate the brand. Fitness retreats can target current gym members and non-members, and can be held at locations all over the world.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to create a buzz around a launch, generate additional revenue streams, or build brand awareness—the possibilities are endless when planning fun summer fitness events! With a thorough understanding of your target audience, goals, and budget, you can create a fitness event that your current gym members love, while also attracting new members and building stronger relationships within your local community.

How to Make Your Gym Stand Out

How to Help Your Gym to Stand Out From Competitors

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We all know there are gyms and health clubs all over the place–and, at their core, they all offer essentially the same thing: a place to work out and improve physical health. With so much variety among competitors, it can be challenging to figure out how to attract potential clients and retain your existing ones.

To remain competitive, it’s important to stand out rather than to fit in. So, what can you do to differentiate your gym from competitors?

Read on to learn four ways you can make your gym shine and stand out amongst your competitors.

1. Focus on the Member Experience

In today’s increasingly digital world, ensuring a positive member experience is more important than ever. A great customer experience provides your business with a competitive edge, improves customer satisfaction and customer engagement, and helps you attract potential clients. Conversely, a bad experience has the opposite effect, and can quickly lead people to cancel their memberships, or leave negative reviews online and on social media.

The experience you provide is what makes your gym unique, and it’s what attracts people to your products or services over your competitors. Providing a great member experience gives you a competitive edge, and it’s critical to creating a positive association with your brand, and building a community of loyal, engaged members.

The member experience begins at the first point of contact with customers and encompasses all the touch points throughout the customer journey. To ensure you’re providing a positive member experience, you need to continuously offer exceptional customer support, anticipate customers’ needs and expectations, and make your members feel like your gym offers something they can’t get anywhere else.

2. Expand Your Digital Fitness Offerings

Online training and on-demand classes were perfect solutions for fitness businesses trying to stay afloat and generate new income streams during worldwide lockdowns and forced business closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, online training became so popular during the pandemic that it secured the no.1 spot in ACSM’s 2021 fitness trends report

The demand for digital and hybrid fitness options isn’t going away any time soon. Many members have grown accustomed to the flexibility, and they still want the option to go to the gym a few days a week, or to get their workouts done at home.

To stay competitive in 2022, fitness businesses should continue to focus on expanding, improving, and marketing online fitness offerings. Consumers now expect a hybrid combination of in-person and online workout options, and they want to be able to research, book services, and communicate with brands easily.

3. Showcase Online Reviews & Member Testimonials

When it comes to business, nothing speaks louder than results. And in the fitness industry, customer reviews and testimonials are a powerful way to showcase results, build trust, demonstrate your ability to deliver an exceptional member experience, and offer social proof that you’re able to help clients achieve their goals. 

Your online presence will affect everything from how many people follow you on social media to your company’s bottom line. For fitness businesses, a positive reputation can help attract new potential clients, entice a better selection of prospective employees, create more business opportunities, improve your local search engine rankings, and more. Conversely, a negative reputation can lead to loss of sales, membership churn, high employee turnover, and other costly consequences.

When a potential client is considering making a purchase decision, they want to make the best choice—and they base their decision on which product or service appears to be superior. Nearly 90% of consumers worldwide make an effort to read reviews before buying products, and 86% of customers rely on word of mouth recommendations and online reviews. These statistics illustrate the importance of your online reputation and digital footprint, as well the impact of positive reviews.

4. Streamline Operations

Gym management software continues to grow in popularity given its ability to increase efficiency and productivity, reduce the risk of human error, save time and money, and enhance the member experience. On top of that, the low upfront cost structure of a cloud-based software solution makes it a financially attractive option for fitness businesses of all sizes.

Gym management software—also sometimes referred to as membership management software, a facility management system, or a gym software solution—is a platform of tools that will centralize and streamline your facility’s operations.

Gym software makes it easy for members to update payment information, pay outstanding balances, view your calendar, schedule sessions, purchase packages or memberships, register their kids for summer camp or soccer clinics, and more—all online, and all on their own.

Conclusion

For a gym owner to be successful in today’s business climate, it’s imperative to get onboard with the fitness industry’s shift to digital, and to invest in a gym management system that can accommodate changing business needs, in addition to the needs of employees and members.

To learn how EZFacility’s comprehensive gym management software can help you easily connect with members and potential clients, convert leads into long-lasting relationships, and streamline operations so you can focus on the most important aspects of running your business, schedule a free demo and personalized product tour today.

Workout Challenges to Keep Member Motivation High

Motivate Your Members With These Fun Workout Challenges

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Workout challenges are a fun way to keep members engaged and working toward their fitness goals. They help your members set challenging yet realistic goals within a time specified timeframe—and when participants start to see the physical results, they’ll also start to associate your fitness facility with success and be more motivated to keep coming back.

From a fitness business standpoint, workout challenges are also a great way to generate new leads, increase referrals, and assist in building long term relationships with clients.

Key Considerations When Designing Workout Challenges

When it comes to workout challenges, the opportunities are limitless. You can choose to structure them any way you’d like, and it’s a great way to keep your online and offline customers engaged. 

Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Once you set your duration for each challenge, be sure it’s communicated clearly to participants so they know what to expect.
  • Promote your workout challenges on your social media pages to generate buzz and encourage more sign ups. 
  • Results can be tracked using a mobile app, gym software, or your staff can create a leaderboard and manually enter results. Participants can take pictures of their results, if need be.
  • An individual challenge has members working toward a set goal, such as running 100 within a certain time frame. Rewards are typically smaller with individual challenges since every participant could be a winner.
  • A competitive challenge has members compete against each other. Since awards are usually tiered and given in the order in which participants finish, rewards are usually larger.
  • Once you determine how many people will be rewarded for participating in your workout challenges, you must decide what the reward(s) will be. Popular rewards include free swag, a personal training session, or a discount on membership.

Read on to learn six of the most popular types of workout challenges.

Six Popular Workout Challenges

So, which workout challenges are best for your fitness facility? The great news is that you can structure them however you’d like—feel free to create your own, or pull inspiration from the examples outlined below:

  1. Most Club Visits

Most Club Visits is an easy challenge to set up and run, and there’s no better way to incentivize your members to come in as much as possible than with a total check-ins challenge.

  1. Improve Your Personal Best by 10%

Most people enjoy certain activities and exercises, and this type of workout challenge encourages members to work toward their long-term fitness goals by improving upon their favorite workout routines—whether that’s rowing, running, walking, or any type of lift.

To successfully run this challenge, ask everyone who wants to participate to come in on a particular day to record their best number to-date and document it.

  1. Cycling Challenges

Cycling challenges work especially well for members who may not be able to run. The challenge can be based on distance traveled, the speed at which it was traveled, or the duration.

  1. Running Challenges

Running challenges are one of the most common types of workout challenges because members can go at their own pace. The challenge can be based on total distance, or the speed at which a certain distance is run.

  1. Rowing Challenges

Rowing is a popular workout because of its aerobic intensity and full-body training, so consider adding a rowing challenge to your repertoire. You can use the machine’s digital dashboard to set time, distance and speed challenges.

  1. Calories Burned

This challenge makes the goal an end-result, so it gives your members a little more freedom to choose the exercises they’re most comfortable with.

Conclusion

Workout challenges can benefit your fitness business by improving member engagement and retention rates, generating new leads, and increasing referrals. They also benefit your members by providing a fun and competitive setting for members to pursue their fitness goals, make friends, and develop a sense of community and belonging. It’s a win:win.

What workout challenges have you held at your gym? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Why Your Gym Needs a Strong Membership Retention Strategy

Why Your Gym Needs a Strong Membership Retention Strategy

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

By now, we’ve all seen the extent to which COVID-19 has disrupted the fitness industry—from the physical location where people work out to the heightened expectations consumers have regarding how gyms should operate and what health and safety protocols should be in effect. 

Fitness business owners should understand that gym members’ expectations have changed dramatically since the pandemic hit. And with more fitness options than ever before—in-person workouts, online classes, and hybrid options—you need to determine your gym’s competitive advantage, and really hone in and highlight that in your marketing materials to attract new gym members, keep current members engaged, and improve member retention rates.

5 Ways to Increase Member Retention Rates in 2022

Getting new members to join your gym is only half the battle. Once new members join—how do you keep members engaged and member retention rates high?

Below are five easy strategies to give your gym retention rates a boost.

1.   Communicate health and safety protocols

With the Omicron BA.2 Subvariant sweeping across the U.S., health and safety protocols are once again top-of-mind for most gym members. Customers now expect gyms to have health and safety standards in place to minimize the transmission of COVID-19—and they want to know what specific steps you’re taking to help keep them safe and comfortable when visiting your gym.

Consider creating a one-sheeter that outlines what steps your gym or health club is implementing and post it throughout your facility, ideally in highly trafficked and visible locations—for example, at the front desk, near the water fountains, on the bathroom doors, etc. You can also easily copy and paste the information from the one sheeter into a newsletter template, and send out an email blast to your database

2.   Focus on the member experience

In today’s increasingly digital world, delivering a positive member experience is more important than ever. Providing an exceptional member experience not only helps you attract new gym members—it gives your facility a competitive edge, and improves customer satisfaction and retention rates.

It’s important to remember that the member experience extends beyond just signing up members—it needs to be emulated across multiple platforms and touchpoints. Additionally, you need to understand how your members think, and what they want.

3.   The hybrid model

The hybrid gym model has become the new norm in the fitness industry. With a hybrid gym model, your digital offerings are meant to complement your brick-and-mortar operations. A hybrid gym offers the best of both worlds. It includes a combination of in-person and online workout options. For example, your gym may offer in-person exercise classes that are also live streamed or available on-demand for members who want to continue with home workouts.

Because the pandemic continues to create new challenges and restrictions on society, a hybrid fitness model puts gym owners in a more secure position to navigate the current climate, as well as future obstacles that may arise.

4.   Small Group Training

As a gym or health club owner, you’re constantly thinking about ways to keep members engaged and improve member retention rates—especially considering 50% of members quit the gym within the first six months. One solution is to provide consistent motivation.

Small group training classes are a great way for gym members to meet, interact and socialize with each other. It also helps them bond with each other, and creates a sense of belonging at your gym. When you have a community of members that are excited to come to your facility and interact with one another, it creates a better overall member experience for everyone. 

5.   Utilize gym management software

If you’re a gym owner, you already know how much time and energy it takes just to manage the day-to-day operations. From scheduling staff and fitness classes to overseeing equipment maintenance and inspections, the number of moving parts at any given time can be overwhelming.

Gym management software continues to grow in popularity given its ability to increase efficiency and productivity, improve communication, save time and money, and enhance the member experience. On top of that, the low upfront cost structure of a cloud-based software solution makes it a financially attractive option for fitness businesses of all sizes.

Conclusion

The fitness industry is still treading uncharted waters, and the pandemic will continue to impact the ways consumers engage with gyms and health clubs. During these uncertain times, maintaining ongoing communication is fundamental to attracting new gym members, as well as keeping member engagement and retention rates high.

To learn how EZFacility’s comprehensive software solution can help you create custom membership plans and effectively manage gym member relationships, schedule a free online demo or personalized product tour today.

Take Youth Soccer Programs Digital with EZFacility

How to Use Digital Marketing to Promote Youth Sports Soccer Programs

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

If your background is in sports and athletic coaching, you may find yourself struggling to understand “the whole marketing thing”—let alone, which strategies and tactics you can use to effectively promote your youth soccer program, increase registrations and enrollments, and build stronger relationships with your team, players’ parents and the community-at-large.

But that’s why we’re here to help!

Read on to learn why building a strong, seamless online experience is more important now than ever, and three things you’ll want to keep in mind when developing a digital strategy for your youth soccer program. 

The Impact of COVID-19 on Youth Soccer

The COVID-19 pandemic completely disrupted youth soccer participation when local governments began imposing business closures, stay-at-home orders and social distancing policies. On top of that, online usage and mobile rates skyrocketed as more people flocked to their phones than ever before.

And now that many children and families are ready to re-engage with youth sports, it’s important to understand how the landscape has changed so you can figure out how to assist and improve future registrations and participation.

Three Ways to Build Your Youth Soccer’ Leagues Online Presence

Here’s a rundown of three things to keep in mind as you build your online presence:

1.   Keep your website up-to-date

It’s not enough to just have a website—you need to make sure your website stays up-to-date, and that it’s mobile responsive. When players’ parents are looking for youth sports programs in their area, their first stop is likely an online search engine or social media platform. To appear in searches, make sure your club is updated regularly with recent and relevant content.

Make sure you create noticeable links or buttons on your site so that players’ parents can find them easily and be able to follow them. This will also help minimize the amount of time your staff has to track down various practice schedules, tournament dates, and so forth.

2.   Use your social media accounts

Social media is an easy and free way to help parents looking for local activities to enrich their kids’ weekends and summers. Having a strong social media and online presence for your youth soccer program is important as it can extend your reach and spread information quickly.

Another easy way to build up interest in your youth soccer program is to regularly post photos of players, their parents, and any related events you may have. People, especially youth soccer players and their parents, love seeing themselves being featured in Facebook posts.

3.   Keep in touch with the community

Stay in touch with both past and present players and their parents. Use your email database to easily send reminders on the new programs, check up on the ones who have missed registrations, and let them know why they should not miss the next.

Offering incentives, referrals, or discounts for early registrations or referring new players is another effective way to give your registration numbers a boost.

The complete solution for your youth soccer league

Your youth soccer league’s path to success involves everything from facility scheduling to online registration and more.

Here are three ways our comprehensive software solution can help:

  1. Registration: Provide clients the flexibility to register as a team or as individuals. Utilize online waivers and simplify fee collection with the use of registration deposits and a variety of processing options.
  2. Scheduling: Generate schedules for your leagues and tournaments reflecting team preferences, venue availability, bye-weeks and tournament seeds using our automated scheduler.
  3. Public Website: Provide clients real-time access to view standings, stay up to date on current league leaders, check scores and even browse through classified ads from teams looking for players.

Want to learn more? Schedule a free demo and personalized product tour today.

Increase Online Sports League Registration Numbers with EZFacility

Five Easy Ways to Increase Your Sports League’s Registration Numbers

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

When you manage a sports league, the most important job during the offseason is promoting your league and securing players. The nature of your sports league will dictate your target audience and potential customers—so the first step is to figure out who they are, what they want, and what forms of marketing they’re most likely to respond to and engage with.

Once you have a solid understanding of your target audience—which, for the purposes of this blog, we’re assuming you do—you’ll be able to effectively utilize the strategies outlined below to guide your marketing efforts, as well as the tone, language and structure of your communications.

Read on to learn five quick and easy ways to increase your sports league’s online registration numbers.

1. Organic Social Media Efforts

Consumers are more dependent on digital content than they’ve ever been in the past. In fact, one recent global study found that engagement on social media has increased 61% over regular usage rates since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two of the hottest and most rapidly growing social media platforms you should consider using to generate more online registrations are TikTok and Instagram.

TikTok

TikTok has overtaken Google as the world’s most visited online destination, and boasts a staggering 105% user growth rate in the US over the past two years. TikTok is a free, short-form video and social media app, and is available for download on both Apple and Android devices. The major difference between TikTok and other social media platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, is that TikTok is based on small, short video clips.

When utilized as a part of your larger social media marketing strategy, TikTok can be a great way to promote your sports league by creating fun video content, tapping into a niche community, and engaging with a younger demographic (if applicable to your league).

Instagram

Instagram now has over 1 billion users worldwide, and the social media giant has been shown to have a strong impact on consumer opinions. With the right approach, you can utilize your Instagram page to increase your number of followers, build meaningful connections with your audience, increase your sports league’s online registrations, and gain unfiltered feedback that you can use to evaluate the success of your league management.

2. Paid Ads on Social Media

As of January 2022, there are 3.96 billion total social media users across all platforms. With the average consumer now spending an unprecedented amount of time online, utilizing targeted advertising is one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience. And, fortunately, there are a number of tools at your disposal that make it easier than ever, regardless of which social media platforms you choose.

3. SMS Marketing / Text Message Marketing

Text message marketing has come a long way since the early 2000s. Today, it’s one of the most highly effective, and cost effective, marketing methods available.

With roughly 97% of Americans owning some type of mobile phone—and approximately 85% of mobile phone users having smart phones—everyone’s more connected, and constantly connected, than ever before. On top of that, the average text message conversion rate is 30%.

It makes sense, then, to utilize SMS marketing to promote your sports league’s online registration page. It’s also a great way to touch base with your contact base, keep them informed of any important changes or updates, and to continue building the relationship in a nonintrusive way. Keep your texts short, friendly, and informative, and be sure to let subscribers know where to find your online registration.

4. Email Marketing

With time and resources limited, it’s understandable that you’ll want to make sure your marketing budget is being allocated wisely and effectively. You may be wondering if email marketing is really worth it, considering all the other marketing options available to businesses nowadays.

The answer is yes—and here’s why: Beyond being able to use scheduling software to create and distribute tailored email marketing campaigns to encourage more online registrations, email marketing has also been shown to be an extremely valuable tool in building upon existing relationships with customers, in addition to reaching new potential customers. 

Keep your emails short and sweet. The copy should be upbeat, visually appealing, easy to skim, and clear in nature. This applies to the subject line as well. And don’t forget to include a clear call-to-action button with a link to your sports league’s online registration page.

5. Sports League Management Software

EZFacility’s sports league management software gives you a complete set of features bundled into one intuitive, responsive platform. Our cloud-based, comprehensive SaaS service simplifies the scheduling and management of fields, courts, leagues, tournaments, teams, coaches, memberships, and more.

Conclusion

All successful businesses—including sports leagues—are built on strong relationships. The stronger the relationship, the deeper the level of customer loyalty and repeat business.

Since successful league management is reliant upon community involvement and engagement, it’s absolutely fundamental that you clearly define—and understand—your target audience so that you can create a solid marketing plan around their needs and preferences to build long-lasting relationships. 

To learn more about EZFacility’s comprehensive sports league management, contact us today to schedule a free no-commitment demo and personalized product tour. 

Simplify Basketball League Registration with EZFacility

Up Your Game With League Management Software and Scheduling

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

When you’re running a basketball league, your head needs to be in the game. So, if you’ve been wondering what you can do to spend less time worrying about registration forms and other time-consuming administrative tasks—you’re in luck!

In this blog, we’ll talk about how basketball league management software can be an affordable solution tailored to meet your league’s unique needs.

What is Basketball Management Software?

Basketball league management software is an online tool that can be used to simplify and streamline the scheduling of basketball courts, teams, coaches, leagues, tournaments, and more.

Benefits of Basketball League Management Software

Whether you’re simply looking to save time on administrative tasks, or need some help managing the more complex aspects—the right basketball league management software can be the difference between a swish or a flop.  

EZFacility’s sports league management and registration software gives you every tool you need to manage your basketball leagues with a complete set of features bundled into one responsive, user-friendly platform that updates in real-time.

Here are just a few ways we can help you save time, simplify online bookings, and improve overall league management:

  • Online Registration: Provide clients the flexibility to register as a team or as individuals. Utilize online waivers and simplify fee collection with the use of registration deposits and a variety of processing options.
  • Schedule Maker: Generate schedules for your leagues and tournaments reflecting team preferences, venue availability, bye-weeks and tournament seeds using our automated scheduler.
  • Public Website: Provide clients real-time access to view standings, stay up to date on current league leaders, check scores and even browse through classified ads from teams looking for players.
  • League Management: Create complex league and tournament schedules in minutes. Keep games running on time with referee assignments, printable scorecards, and photo ID cards for player verification.
  • Customization: Make EZLeagues your own. Transform EZLeagues to match your brand, or embed it within your own website. With familiar customization tools, you can tailor the look-and-feel in minutes.

Additional features include:

  • Real-Time TV Display
  • Custom Color Schemes
  • Automated Game Reminders
  • Sports Specific Game Cards
  • League & Tournament Classified Ads
  • IFrame Integration
  • Officials Management
  • Advertising Capability
  • Detailed Reporting

Take Your Basketball League to the Next Level

If you’re ready to up your game, contact us today to schedule a free demo and personalized product tour.

5 Tips for Your Baseball League

Hard-Hitting Social Media Strategies to Promote Your Baseball League

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Although sports marketing is a bit different than traditional marketing, the fundamentals of the game are the same.

In this blog, we’ll cover five swinging strategies to help you promote your baseball league and increase registration numbers.

1. Create a Winning Game Plan

A sports marketing plan is an outline that should include all of the marketing efforts you have planned for the next month, quarter, or year. It should also clearly define how your marketing efforts directly align and support your league’s goals.

To create an effective sports marketing program for your baseball league, be sure to include the following key elements:

  • Overview of marketing goals and objectives: Your marketing goals should be SMART—that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  • Assessment of your baseball league’s current marketing efforts: An analysis of the current state of the organization concerning its marketing positioning.
  • Description of your target market and customer needs: Here’s where to include the critical information for your target market—who they are, where they’re located, as well as any preferences, needs, or gaps that will be relevant to your marketing efforts.
  •  Outline of marketing activities: A list of all the marketing campaigns and baseball marketing strategies planned for the period and the indicated timelines.
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs): Critical indicators of progress toward a desired goal or target. KPIs provide focus for strategic and operational improvement by establishing an analytic baseline by which to measure success.

2. Leverage Your Baseball League’s Sponsors

Leveraging your sponsors is an easy way to increase your league’s visibility, while also giving them some reciprocal added value. As you secure new sponsorships, ask to collaborate with their marketing teams to come up with clever ways you can cross-promote one another across social media accounts.

By working with your sponsors, you can ensure your messaging and promotions are aligned with what they’re looking for, and help you build strong working relationships that can lead to long-term sponsorship commitments.

3. Share Behind the Scenes Content

Instead of simply sharing photos and videos on game day, drum up some pre-game excitement by giving your fan base and supporters a look behind the scenes. Sharing behind the scenes content feels more genuine, which social media users are more likely to engage with.

Something as simple as posting photos or clips of player warm-ups or practices can have surprisingly positive effects—for example, increasing your online presence, piquing the interest of new potential sponsors, as well as attracting new players and increasing online registrations. 

4. Utilize Branded Hashtags

Hashtags are one of the most wide-ranging (and free!) social media marketing tools at your disposal. They have the power to spread your message across multiple social media platforms, and they can help you track trending topics, engage in relevant and timely conversations, market your sports events, and more. In fact, according to Twitter, Tweets with hashtags get 100% more engagement.

Piggy-backing off of an existing hashtag can be useful for capitalizing on a new trend or hot topic discussion, but be aware that your message could get lost in the noise if the hashtag is, or becomes, highly saturated.

A branded hashtag is a custom hashtag unique to your brand, which is helpful in both paid and organic social media marketing efforts. You can use branded hashtags to create buzz for your baseball league, encourage user-generated content, run contests and promotions, and increase league registrations. 

5. Share Highlights

To successfully market your baseball league, you’ll need to do more than just promote it. People who aren’t able to attend games in-person will still want to feel like a part of the experience, which is why sharing highlights from games on your social media accounts can be a highly effective way to promote your baseball league. This also allows your fan base to share highlights on their personal pages, which will help boost your engagement metrics as well.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for ways to save time on administrative work and streamline league management so you can focus on knocking it out of the park with these hard-hitting marketing strategies, click here to learn how EZFacility can help.

How to Market Your Indoor Soccer Facility

How to Market Your Indoor Soccer Facility

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

According to Deloitte’s 2022 Sports Industry Outlook, the role and duty of sports in society will continue to receive increased attention, with a focus on sustainability and mental health. The study findings also predict the sports industry will continue to see an influx of money from new sources, shifting power dynamics in college sports, more widespread use of emerging technologies, and a greater focus on broader societal issues in 2022.

So even if your indoor soccer facility business is currently booming, it’s good business practice to always be planning for the future and to pay close attention to emerging industry trends to ensure long term success and profitability.

Read on to learn three examples of sports marketing efforts that can help build your brand, attract potential clients, boost sales, and increase your online presence and digital ranking.

Social Media Marketing

Utilizing social media platforms is the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to reach your target market, drive traffic to your website, increase conversions, boost sales, and establish your brand identity and credibility.

Audiences are more dependent on digital content than they’ve ever been in the past. In fact, one recent global study found that engagement on social media has increased 61% over regular usage rates since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But it’s no longer enough for brands to just create content—to succeed in today’s digital landscape, sports marketers need to understand which social media platforms are best suited for their brand, how to create engaging content tailored to their target market, and how to deliver that content to ensure it’s actually seen by the right people.

While there’s no magic formula to dictate which social media platforms you should use or how often you should post, consistency is key. For this reason, it’s a good idea to start by focusing on one or two social media platforms at a time instead of trying to master them all. 

It’s also important to remember that social media platforms are always evolving to meet the needs of their users, so you’ll want to review your social media marketing plan throughout the year to make sure it’s updated to reflect the current industry landscape and emerging trends.

Two of the hottest and most rapidly growing social media platforms you should consider using to promote your indoor soccer facility business are TikTok and Instagram.

TikTok

If you haven’t heard by now—TikTok is a pretty big deal. So much so, that TikTok has overtaken Google as the world’s most visited online destination. TikTok is a free, short-form video and social media app, and is available for download on both Apple and Android devices. The major difference between TikTok and other social media platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, is that TikTok is based on small, short video clips.

The impact that TikTok has on consumers’ attitudes and purchase decisions is irrefutable. In fact, the social media giant’s influence is so widely acknowledged that the phrase “TikTok made me buy it” has over 4.1 billion views of the hashtag on the app.

When utilized as a part of your larger social media marketing strategy, TikTok is a highly effective way to promote your indoor soccer facility business by creating fun video content, building a niche community, and tapping into a younger demographic. 

(Read more: Why Fitness Businesses Should Be Leveraging TikTok)

Instagram

Instagram now has over 1 billion users worldwide, and 80% of Instagram users say they use the platform for help when deciding to buy a product or service. Instagram’s strong impact on consumers’ buying journey has created tremendous new growth opportunities in the digital sports marketing space.

Now more than ever, social media users want to build bonds with brands, and they’re more likely to base their buying decisions on a company’s purpose and mission. Instagram is a great way to promote a higher level of transparency, and features like Live Videos and Instagram Stories provide you with unique ways to offer behind-the-scenes looks and interesting insights into your indoor soccer facility business.

With the right approach, you can effectively utilize your Instagram page to increase your number of followers, build meaningful connections with users, and gain unfiltered consumer feedback that you can use to grow your indoor soccer facility business.

(Read more: 5 Ways to Maximize Reach on Instagram)

Text Message Marketing

Text message marketing—also referred to as SMS marketing—is when businesses send text messages to promote their products and services to consumers, provide important updates, and to maintain ongoing communication with their target market.

While text message marketing campaigns can sometimes be more expensive than email marketing campaigns—they’re typically less expensive than many paid ad options, especially on popular social media platforms. And because SMS messaging campaigns offer such a high ROI, they’re considered cost-effective. 

Text message marketing and email marketing work similarly—but data shows that SMS marketing campaigns consistently outperform its modern-day counterpart, despite its simple and straightforward nature. Text messaging has six times the engagement as email rate of email, and 96% of marketers using text messages said it helped them drive revenue.

If that’s not enough to convince you—more than 69% of consumers would be extremely likely or likely to connect with a brand to receive SMS customer service, and 58% of consumers believe text messages are the most effective way for brands to communicate.

(Read more: What is SMS Marketing and What Are the Benefits?)

Sports Club Management Software

Sports club management software can help manage all aspects of your facility—from coach and lesson scheduling to player invoicing and payments. It simplifies and streamlines the management, marketing, and scheduling of leagues, trainers, memberships, tournaments, and more—all of which helps increase revenue by saving time, reducing error, and creating a more seamless customer experience.

EZFacility’s comprehensive suite of marketing tools allows you to customize and send advanced email marketing campaigns and automated text messages to develop new customer relationships or nurture leads throughout the buying process. With automated email and text message functionality–you can also ensure clients receive the right information at the most opportune time.

Want to learn more? Schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour today.

You may also be interested in:

Soccer Facility Business Trends

Key Considerations Before Building a New Sports Facility

How to Increase Revenue at Your Indoor Soccer Facility

Soccer Facility Trends to Watch in 2022

Soccer Facility Trends to Watch in 2022

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Construction of sports and recreation facilities was largely stalled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, creating the immediate need for business owners to quickly identify new and diversified revenues streams as they navigated forced business closures, stay-at-home orders, social distancing requirements, and the global shift to digitization.

The pandemic was catastrophic for many businesses and industries, but especially those that relied almost entirely on in-person sales, operations and participation—for example, sports and recreation facilities, soccer leagues and sports complexes.

The Accelerated Rise of the Digital Economy

With the entire world looking to technology to bridge the gaps left in the wake of the pandemic, we—as a global society—have become entrenched in a time of unparalleled investment and reliance upon emerging technologies.

The global shift to digitization, rapid and ongoing technological advancements and improvements, and paradigm shifts in the way people engage with sports—and each other—have ushered in an exciting new era for soccer leagues, sports complexes, and other sports and recreation-related business.

Three Soccer Facility Trends to Watch in 2022

Below, we’ve outlined three of 2022’s top soccer trends that are predicted to impact everything from sports complex design to soccer player and attendee experiences.  

1.   Multifunctional Facilities & Versatile Spaces

While many sports complexes were traditionally designed to serve a distinct purpose—for example, the investor needed an indoor soccer facility or an outdoor football stadium—we’re now seeing a massive shift to versatility in space usage and advancements in technology to create dynamic, multifunctional spaces that allow for seamless transitions between activities. 

Sport-specific complexes are great in the right context, but they’re rarely able to be used appropriately for recreation centers. And because you’ll want to host as many soccer events, sports games, training camps, and other sports-related events/activities as possible, you’ll need a venue that’s versatile and able to adapt to changing needs to ensure long-term growth and viability by diversifying your revenue streams.

For example, at Tottenham Stadium—home of the English Premiere League’s Tottenham Hotspur—the stadium’s field can be adjusted based on the sport that’s being played. The stadium typically hosts soccer events which require a natural grass pitch—but the venue also hosts two NFL games per season, in which artificial turf is used.

2.   Interactive Kiosks

Placing kiosks—small booths or structures—throughout common spaces of your sports facility is a simple concept that’s been around for a long time. And they’ve been around a long time because they’ve proven their worth.

Traditionally, kiosks were mostly used as information booths and required staff to operate them. But now, thanks to advancements in technology, digital kiosks offer more dynamic, interactive and user-friendly content—as well as advertising and sponsorship opportunities—and they don’t require staff to operate.

For example, AT&T Stadium—home of the Dallas Cowboys—offers interactive kiosks to help fans connect with their favorite football players. Guests can take photos of themselves at the venue’s selfie stations, and then simply press a few buttons to add their favorite players into the picture with them.

Photo kiosks usually prompt fans to input their email address so they can have their photo emailed to them, right then. Then fans are able to upload and share the photo across their social media channels—which, in turn, enables data capture while also boosting your venue’s digital presence, social media engagement, and online ranking.

3.   Robotic Concessions

Concession stands are a must-have for soccer facilities because there will always be a demand for food and beverage options between the soccer players and other athletes, attendees, and staff. It just makes good business sense.

And, fortunately for venue owners—they’re also typically a huge money maker. But let’s not forget that concession stands do come at a cost to sports complex owners—one of biggest costs being the staff required to operate them. As technology continues to improve and advance rapidly, it’s only a matter of time before robotic concessions start popping up in sports facilities of all sizes, all over the world. 

For example, a robotic arm named Flippy was introduced at Dodger Stadium during the 2018 World Series to help manage increased demand for concessions. In 2019, Flippy became a mainstay in Los Angeles as the Chicago-based concession company is working on their technology to increase efficiency and reduce costs inside stadiums.

Flippy has since been spotted working hard at CaliBurger in downtown Pasadena, and White Castle recently announced plans to gradually roll out 100 new Flippy 2s over the next few years.

Conclusion

One big takeaway from the pandemic is that businesses need to prioritize working smarter—and the way to do that is by utilizing technology. We’re not yet clear of COVID, and businesses all over the United States are still facing labor and supply shortages.

As a soccer facility or sports complex owner, the best thing you can do to prepare the future during periods of uncertainty is to start saving money now by utilizing technology to streamline operations, reduce costly errors and inefficiencies, and limit risk.

To learn how EZFacility’s sports facility management software simplifies the scheduling and management of fields, courts, leagues, tournaments, teams, coaches, memberships, and more—schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour today.

You may also be interested in:

Key Considerations Before Building a New Sports Facility

How to Increase Revenue at Your Indoor Soccer Facility

Marketing Ideas for an Indoor Soccer Facility Business

Tips to Increase Revenue at Your Indoor Soccer Facility

Tips to Increase Revenue at Your Indoor Soccer Facility

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Over the past two years, flexibility has become essential for businesses to survive all the changes and uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus.

Ensuring your indoor soccer facility can consistently generate a sufficient source of revenue is critical to long term success and profitability. In today’s business landscape, that means getting creative and adapting to changing needs.

If you’re wondering how to achieve this, here are four ways sports facilities can diversify revenue streams to increase profitability and growth potential.  

Multifunctional Sports Facilities

While many sports facilities were traditionally designed to serve a distinct purpose, we’re now seeing a massive shift to versatility in space usage to create dynamic, multifunctional spaces that allow for seamless transitions between activities.

One great example of this is Tottenham Stadium. Home of the English Premiere League’s Tottenham Hotspur, Tottenham Stadium’s field can be adjusted based on the sport that’s being played. The stadium typically hosts soccer events which require a natural grass pitch—but the venue also hosts two NFL games per season, in which artificial turf is used.

In order to host as many soccer events, training camps, group lessons and other sports-related activities as possible, you’ll want a sports facilities venue that’s versatile and able to adapt to changing needs in order to position your indoor soccer facility for long term growth by diversifying your sources of revenue.

Sponsorships

Sponsorships can bring in big money for your indoor soccer facility—but it’s important to be selective about accepting sponsorships. Because you will have to display sponsors’ marketing collateral throughout your facility, it’s important to be selective and only accept support from brands or organizations that reflect your company’s values.

Advertising

Advertising is one of the most effective ways to increase revenue for your indoor soccer facility. It’s a no-brainer to take advantage of idle space by selling advertising opportunities in the most popular areas of your facility where they’ll have the greatest visibility and ROI.

Examples include:

  •  Entrance gate
  • Concession stands
  • Restrooms
  • Scoreboards
  • Perimeter Fences
  • Seating

Sports Facilities Management Software

Sports facilities management software continues to grow in popularity given its ability to increase efficiency and productivity, reduce the risk of human error, save time and money, and enhance the customer experience. On top of that, the low upfront cost structure of a cloud-based software solution makes it a financially attractive option for soccer clubs and sports facilities of all sizes.

Benefits of choosing EZFacility

EZFacility makes it possible to manage your soccer club or indoor soccer facility, from any device with our fully responsive and easy-to-navigate user interface. Save time with simple, clean workflows and processes designed to anticipate your business needs. We’re securely hosted on Amazon Web Services and boast a 99.99% uptime.

Additional benefits include:

  • Sports Facility Scheduling: Simplify your sports facilities management using our color-coded calendar to view resource availability, create reservations, and assign instructors, officials, and coaches.
  • Check-in & Memberships: Scan in members, create detailed client profiles, automatically collect dues, verify player identities and registration status with branded player cards.
  • Point of Sale: Speed up purchases, gain control over your non-recurring revenue, and allow members to make payments throughout your club by simply scanning their ID card.
  • Online Registration: Allow players to register online for leagues, tournaments, camps and clinics. Provide online access to forms, waivers, and payment history.
  • Coach & Lesson Scheduling: Manage all aspects of league and tournament scheduling and provide real-time team schedules, registration, stats, and standings on your website.
  • Billing & Payments: Consolidate all revenue streams into one system to track the sale of packages, memberships, and point of sale items.

Want to learn more? Schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour today!

You may also be interested in:

Key Considerations Before Building a New Sports Facility

Marketing Ideas for an Indoor Soccer Facility Business

Soccer Facility Business Trends

Baseball Facility Management Software by EZFacility

Benefits of Sports Club Management Software

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Sports club management has never been easier, thanks to the rise of sports facility and league management software.  Sports club management software helps facility owners manage all aspects of their sports facility—from coach and lesson scheduling to player invoicing and payments.

By streamlining the scheduling and management of your baseball facility, you’ll save time and money, improve member management, kickstart new growth opportunities, and more.

Benefits of Sports Club Management Software

Sports club management software makes it easy to manage your entire baseball or batting cage facility with a complete set of features bundled into one intuitive, accessible, secure, and responsive platform.

Improve Communication & Collaboration

Communication barriers can lead to misinformation, misunderstandings and errors, all of which end up costing valuable time and money. Sports club management tools make communication and collaboration between staff members easy by providing a centralized platform for real-time collaboration, brainstorming and problem solving.

Having one central hub where your team can quickly access and communicate about vital information in real-time helps them collaborate faster and more effectively, reduces the risk of miscommunication, improves team performance, and increases operational efficiency.

Save Time & Money

Being able to accurately track and assess the actual amount of time, staff, equipment, and resources required to cover everyday operations is absolutely vital to long-term success. 

When all of your customer and league information is organized in a central database, your staff can easily access all the information necessary to keep track of rentals, financial records, status of participants’ forms, rosters, and contact information.

Benefits of Choosing EZFacility

EZFacility’s comprehensive software solution makes it easy to manage your entire baseball or batting cage business with a complete set of features bundled into one intuitive, accessible, secure, and responsive platform.

Here are just a few ways we can help you grow your baseball facility:

Accessible anytime, anywhere—and always secure!

Manage your baseball facility anywhere from any device with our fully responsive easy-to-navigate user interface. Save time with simple, clean workflows and processes designed to anticipate the needs of your staff. We’re securely hosted on Amazon Web Services and boast a 99.99% uptime.

Streamline Scheduling

Maximize coach productivity, save time and increase your cash flow. Define pitching coach availability, quickly update batting cage schedules, create single or recurring sessions, and send clients automated emails and text reminders.

You can also generate schedules for your leagues and tournaments based on team preferences, venue availability, and tournament seeds using our automated scheduler.

Streamline Billing

Choosing a sports club management software that includes integrated payment processing is a huge plus. Simplify your billing process with customized payment schedules, automated invoicing and expiring credit card reminders. Accept online payments and track package, membership and equipment sales.

League Management

Enroll, maintain, track and retain players. Quickly access detailed player profiles, create coaching packages, track attendance, alert members to schedule changes, and target new revenue opportunities.

With EZFacility, clients have real-time access to view standings, stay up to date on current league leaders, check scores and even browse through classified ads from teams looking for players.

Automate Billing Invoicing & Payments

Simplify your billing process with customized payment schedules, automated invoicing and expiring credit card reminders. Accept online payments and track package, membership and equipment sales.

Conclusion

There are countless advantages to sports club management software–and ours can be customized to meet your specific business needs!

Want to learn more? Schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour today.

How to Market Your Batting Cage Business

Key Elements of a Sports Marketing Plan

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Knock it out of the park with these hard-hitting baseball marketing strategies

You may have the best batting cage facility in the world—but if no one knows about it, your business most likely won’t succeed. If you want to start or grow a batting cage business, people need to know you exist—and the way to make that happen is through marketing.

We know it can be challenging to figure out where to allocate your marketing budget and resources, and what your marketing mix should include. So, read on to learn some sports marketing tips and baseball marketing strategies to help you build up your batting cage business.  

What Is a Sports Marketing Plan?

A sports marketing plan is an outline that should include all of the marketing campaigns and marketing strategies you have planned for the next month, quarter, or year. It should also clearly define how your marketing efforts directly align and support your business goals.

Key Elements of a Sports Marketing Plan

An effective sports marketing plan should include the following key elements:

  • Overview of sports marketing goals and objectives: Your marketing goals should be SMART—that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  • Assessment of your baseball facility’s current marketing position: An analysis of the current state of the organization concerning its marketing positioning.
  • Description of your target market and customer needs: Here, you will include your target marketing demographics
  • Outline of marketing activities: A list of all the marketing campaigns and baseball marketing strategies planned for the period and the indicated timelines.
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs): Critical indicators of progress toward a desired goal or target. KPIs provide focus for strategic and operational improvement by establishing an analytic baseline by which to measure success.

Examples of Sports Marketing Strategies

The options are limitless when it comes to sports marketing, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why it’s so important to have a strong marketing plan in place—it forces you to think through the important steps required to achieve your marketing goals.

While the specifics will vary based on your unique business needs, below are four tried-and-true marketing strategies you should consider for your batting cage facility:

1. Create targeted ad campaigns on social media

With the average consumer now spending an unprecedented amount of time online, and nearly half of the global population using social media, utilizing targeted advertising is one of the most effective ways to market your batting cage business. And, fortunately, social media networks—like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok—have made it easier and more cost-effective than ever.

In terms of performance and engagement, social media ads that contain video strongly outperform those that use static images, so it’s worth investing the time to create engaging video clips to get the greatest return from your ad spend.

2. Focus on content marketing

Outbound marketing is the old way of doing business. With more people turning to their digital devices to interact with sports brands, your marketing mix should include a heavy focus on digital content creation.

Considering content marketing can generate over three times as many leads as outbound marketing—and costs approximately 62% less—it’s pretty clear why investing in content marketing makes sense for sports businesses and baseball facilities.

3. Demonstrate value using social media

Social media marketing is no longer optional—it’s a must. In a world now dominated by digital marketing, consumers’ feeds are being flooded by businesses vying to capture their attention. It’s no longer enough to just create content—your content needs to be compelling enough to break through the noise, capture viewers’ attention.

4. Utilize Text Message Marketing

Text message marketing has come a long way since the early 2000s. Today, it’s one of the most highly effective, and cost effective, marketing strategies available. You can use push notifications to attract new customers to your batting cage facility by offering them a free trial or guest pass, a discount on their first visit, or free branded swag if they sign up to receive texts.

A push notification strategy is also an effective way to keep customers engaged with your business, improve retention rates, and boost revenue. Today’s consumers want to build relationships with brands—and push notifications help strengthen the bond with your customers by offering a simple, familiar way to keep in touch. In fact, one study found that push messages increase retention rates three to 10 times, and increase engagement by 88 percent!

Conclusion

With the global tendency continuing to shift toward digitization, creating a strong sports marketing plan with a heavy focus on digital marketing is an imperative.

To learn how EZFacility’s comprehensive software solution can help you attract new customers, nurture leads, increase conversions, and grow your batting cage business, schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour today!

How to Write a Batting Cage Business Plan

Why You Need A Batting Cage Business Plan

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

If you want to open a batting cage business, the first step is to develop a comprehensive business plan. Creating a business plan will help you develop a greater understanding of your industry, competitors, target market, and help you identify ways to differentiate your facility so you can plan for long term success. 

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a written document that defines company goals and objectives, and explains how the company plans to achieve those goals. The best way to set yourself up for future success is to start with a solid plan—and an effective business plan should guide you through the phases of starting, managing and growing your batting cage business.

Although business plans are especially helpful for new businesses, every company should have one.

Do I need a business plan?

Think of your business plan as the compass that will guide your batting cage business and keep everyone moving in the right direction. Your business plan is the place to put all of your thoughts and plans in one place, so it’s important to take your time to ensure you cover all elements and aspects of your batting cage business.

Having a strong business plan will help you:

  1. Assess your competitors
  2. Develop a greater understanding of your target market
  3. Serve as a guide to grow your business
  4. Help you reach milestones
  5. Help you secure funding

What should my business plan include?

Below is an overview of key areas to include when creating your batting cage business plan:

1. Cover Page

A small yet fundamental component of your business plan is the cover page, which should include the name of your batting cage business, location, and contact information.

2. Table of Contents:

The table of contents is where you’ll provide an outline of what readers can expect to find in your business plan. It also helps readers quickly skim or skip to the areas of greatest interest.

3. Executive Summary:

The executive summary is where you’ll summarize the contents of your business plan in a concise, detailed and compelling way. This section should be no longer than one page, and should answer key questions such as:

  • What are your business goals and how will you achieve them?
  • Who is your target market?
  • What are your financial projections?
  • What’s your competitive advantage?

4. Industry Background

In this section, you’ll provide past and current information about the size, trends and critical features of your industry. This section should answer questions such as:

  • What is the industry?
  • What is the industry outlook?
  • Who are the competitors?
  • What are the barriers to entry?

5.   Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should provide key information about your major competitors, as well as an assessment of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

6.   Market Analysis

Learning about your target market and their needs, preferences and demographic data is an integral part of any business plan. By identifying and understanding your target market, you’ll learn how—and where—to reach and connect with them. This section should also demonstrate that there is a real need or demand in the market that your new batting cage business will fulfill.

7.   Sales and Marketing

In the sales and marketing section of your business plan, you’ll explain how you plan to allocate marketing resources to most effectively reach new customers and convert them into long term customers. Be sure to include specific marketing strategies and explain how they align with business goals and objectives.  

8.   Cost Projections and Funding

The financial section is the foundation of any good business plan. It should provide current and future projections of your facility’s financial performance, and show how much money you need to generate in order to be profitable and poised for continued growth.

Conclusion

When opening a batting cage business, having a well-researched and comprehensive business plan in place is vital to the success of your company. Your business plan will be your guidebook to growing your facility, and will also serve as a benchmark to measure success year-after-year.    

To learn how our baseball facility and league scheduling software can help you manage all aspects of your batting cage business—anytime, anywhere, and from any device—sign up for a free trial and online demonstration.

How to Start a Batting Cage Business

How to Open a Batting Cage Business

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As the saying goes, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” For baseball and softball enthusiasts, opening a batting cage business is an opportunity to turn passion into purpose—and profit.

A batting cage business provides a place where baseball and softball players, teams, and the general public can practice the sport in a safe environment and improve their game. And while the majority of customers will be baseball and softball players—batting cages are also a popular source of entertainment for families, friends, couples, and individuals who enjoy the sport.

So, if you’ve ever thought about opening a batting cage business—you’re in luck!

In this blog, we’ll walk you through the basics of opening a battle cage business so you can start planning and turn your dream into a reality.

Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Batting Cage Business

Like any new business venture—opening a batting cage facility will require significant preparation, planning, and investment. It’s absolutely critical to do your due diligence so you know what to expect, and can prepare accordingly.

Below, we’ve put together a simple guide to starting a batting cage business. Following these steps will help make sure your new business venture is well-planned, properly registered, and legally compliant.

1.   Name Your Batting Cage Business

Choosing a name for your batting cage facility may be one of the most fun decisions you’ll make as a new business owner—but, be aware, it can be deceptively difficult to decide on a name that’s both straight forward yet intriguing, and one that will mature well with your business. Your business name will be around with you for a long time, so it’s important to carefully consider your options.

Once you’ve decided on a name for your batting cage business and confirmed its availability, it’s important to secure your domain name and social media handles as soon as possible—and before someone else does—so you can start building your online presence.

2.   Define Your Target Market

Most likely, the majority of your customer base will be baseball and softball players of various ages and levels). But, keep in mind, sports facilities that offer other entertainment options—like indoor soccer, mini golf, or go-karts—and dining options will typically appeal to a wider audience (like families and friend groups), and are more likely to draw a consistent crowd by appealing to a wider audience.

You may want to consider purchasing a marketing research report to help you better understand the surrounding community and its needs. This critical insight will help you decide how your batting cage facility can specifically fulfill those needs and add value to the community, which will largely impact your long-term viability and success. 

3.   Choose a Location

“Location. Location. Location.” It’s one of the most popular sayings in business for a pretty obvious reason—location matters. A lot. The physical location you choose for your batting cage business may very well be the difference between success or failure.

Your customer base will be heavily influenced by the location you choose. For example, if your facility is located near a school district or neighborhoods with young families, you’ll attract a larger customer base than you would if your location is far removed from residents, is in an unsafe on undesirable location, is located near competing businesses, or is in an area where residents have little to no interest in the sport.

You’ll also need to decide whether you purchase or lease a property as this will impact your location options. Once you find a location you love that’s within your budget, you’ll need to check the local zoning requirements to make sure your businesses will be in compliance so you don’t run into any unexpected legal issues.

4.   Complete the Legal Aspects

There are a number of legal requirements to opening a batting cage facility. In addition to registering your business name with the county clerk, you’ll also need to file articles of incorporation or articles of organization with your state government and pay a filing fee. It’s also recommended to purchase a business owner’s insurance policy, which will provide liability and property protection for your batting cage business.

5.   Purchase Equipment & Supplies

Now it’s time to shop!

Prepare a list of everything you’ll need before opening your doors—from desk pens and balls and bats to batting cages and pitching machines. You’ll also need to create a floor plan with dimensions noted to ensure you have the space and a plan for where everything will go.

6.   Leverage Technology to Maximize Efficiency

As a batting cage business owner, it’s crucial to stay aware of what new technology is on the horizon, how it may benefit you, and how it will affect the larger industry landscape. Equally as important, you must be willing to adapt and invest in technology to improve your business operations and remain competitive.

Baseball facility and league management software makes it possible to automate your most complex processes—thereby saving you time and money—while also improving operational efficiency, communication, membership management, and more.

Conclusion

Starting and growing a batting cage business will require strategic planning and significant investments of time, money and resources—but there’s no better place to invest than in yourself, and in your business!

EZFacility’s comprehensive software solution makes it possible to manage your batting cage business from any device with our fully responsive easy-to-navigate user interface. Save time with simple, clean workflows and processes designed to anticipate the needs of your staff.

Want to learn more? Schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour today.

2022 Fitness Trend Predictions

2022 Fitness Trends & Predictions

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The beginning of a new year is a popular time for fitness businesses to assess the previous year’s performance, to evaluate the current state of the health and fitness industry, and to keep a close eye on developing technology and changing consumer behavior to identify emerging fitness trends that will be important in the year to come.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the health and fitness industry has faced countless and ongoing challenges. Fitness businesses were hit hard by unforeseen, abrupt, and lengthy business closures—which simultaneously created the immediate need and demand for digital fitness experiences and offerings.

And although the shift to digitization generated a lot of new online opportunities for health and fitness businesses, it also created new streams of competition in the already hyper-competitive online arena.

To help you better understand what to expect from the fitness industry this year, below is a run-down of five top fitness trends of 2022.

Below, we’ll take you through some of the biggest fitness trends we expect to see in 2022, from the ongoing demand for digital fitness options to the shifting definition of wellness–and everything in between.  

1.     Wearable Technology

The no. 1 fitness trend for 2022 is wearable technology, according to the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual survey of global fitness trends.

Wearable tech includes smart watches, fitness trackers, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices. It’s a useful exercise motivator that also tracks important information like steps, heart rate, calories burned, and sleep patterns.

Survey findings also estimate wearable tech has grown to be a $100 billion industry, and it’s projected for continued growth throughout 2022.

New innovations to wearable tech extend beyond “just fitness”—and new features include insight into metrics like blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and electrocardiogram.

Considering how heavily society has come to rely on the internet and smart devices for just about everything, it should come as no surprise that wearable tech tops the list for this year’s hottest fitness trend.

2.     Online Training and On-Demand Offerings

Online training and on-demand classes were perfect solutions for fitness businesses trying to stay afloat and generate new income streams during worldwide lockdowns and forced business closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, online training became so popular during the pandemic that it secured the no.1 spot in ACSM’s 2021 fitness trends report

And even though health and fitness businesses are allowed to operate from their physical locations once again, the demand for online training isn’t going away any time soon. Many members have grown accustomed to the flexibility, and they still want the option to go to the gym a few days a week, or to get their workouts done at home.

To stay competitive in 2022, fitness businesses should continue to focus on expanding, improving, and marketing online fitness offerings. And remember—online training shouldn’t be viewed as a competitor to traditional brick-and-mortar business—rather, it should be a supplemental way to generate income while also providing added value and convenience to members.

3.     High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT Workouts)

High intensity interval training (commonly referred to as HIIT) is a form of exercise that’s defined by its workout format—a short burst of high intensity exercise alternated with a recovery period of rest or low intensity exercise.

HIIT workouts continue to gain popularity in 2022 given the effectiveness, flexibility, accessibility, and short time requirements. The beauty of HIIT workouts is that they’re designed to be quick and effective. But despite the short duration, HIIT workouts can actually be a far more efficient way to burn calories and lose body fat in less time than traditional steady-state exercise.

4.     Mind-Body Health and Fitness

In 2022, the concepts of health and fitness will continue to merge as society is redefining what wellness means from a more holistic standpoint. New considerations focus on balancing diet and nutrition, mental health, and physical activity—as opposed to focusing solely on weight loss or muscle gain.

More people are starting to realize that achieving mind-body health requires ongoing effort. And with more people looking to find more effective ways to ease stress, anxiety and improve mental health, wellness practices like Pilates, yoga, meditation, as well as diet and nutritional coaching, will continue to gain traction and rise in popularity this year.

5.     Small Group Training

The pandemic changed how we approach group fitness—and some people just aren’t comfortable returning to in-person group classes operating near full capacity. Offering small group training makes your gym more inclusive and affordable for people from different backgrounds, which helps give your facility a competitive edge.

Small group training is an instructor-led, group exercise class that typically includes between 2-10 participants. It’s essentially the same thing as personal training, except with a small group instead of individuals working one-on-one with personal trainers. 

Conclusion

The future of fitness is digital transformation—and to keep up, fitness businesses need trusted gym management software.

To learn how EZFacility can help streamline all aspects of your fitness business from one easy-to-use gym management system, schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour today.

marketing calendar

How to Create a Fitness Marketing Calendar

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to start planning your fitness company’s 2022 marketing calendar.

Creating a marketing calendar template and keeping it up-to-date is essential for generating revenue and meeting your gym’s financial goals in the year to come. It also helps to ensure that all of your marketing efforts are strategic, and that your marketing campaigns directly contribute to your facility’s goals and objectives.

And, by mapping out your marketing plan in a calendar, you create a centralized hub that helps your marketing team plan and navigate marketing campaigns more cohesively, efficiently and effectively.

In this blog, we’ll talk about the basics of a fitness marketing calendar—what it is, and why you need one—as well as tips on how to create a 2022 marketing calendar for your fitness business.

What Is a Fitness Marketing Calendar?

Think of your gym’s 2022 marketing calendar as a visual roadmap for all your marketing activities for the year. It should serve as a chronological guide to executing your marketing campaigns, and it’s an actionable tool that helps you achieve marketing goals within a set timeframe.

Why Do I Need a Fitness Marketing Calendar?

You may be familiar with the saying “proper planning prevents poor performance”—and this couldn’t be truer of fitness marketing. Some of the most common reasons that fitness marketing efforts fail are due to lack of strategy, lack of understanding about your target audience, lack of testing, and/or lack of tailoring and retargeting marketing strategies.

When it comes to fitness marketing, planning ahead is often the difference between a good year and a rough one. And although a marketing calendar doesn’t guarantee success, it does establish the framework your marketing team needs to create, coordinate and execute tailored marketing campaigns.

Three Key Benefits of a Fitness Marketing Calendar

Below three other important reasons you should get to work on your gym’s 2022 marketing calendar ASAP:

1.   It improves communication and collaboration.

A fitness marketing calendar helps improve communication and collaboration among team members by clearly indicating who is responsible for accomplishing each task, and when it’s due. It also helps to identify any gaps in process or progress, allowing team members to tweak and tailor schedules if needed.

2.   It helps your marketing team stay on track.

A marketing calendar helps team members avoid missing deadlines by providing upfront planning and foresight. It also helps your marketing team see how tasks progress on a step by step basis, which then helps them adjust accordingly to maintain realistic expectations.

3.   It saves time and money.

When it comes to business, time equals money. And because a fitness marketing calendar outlines tasks and team member responsibilities upfront and in an easily digestible way, it helps reduce confusion and saves time (=money) that would have otherwise been spent trying to align your team and keeping everyone on the same page.

How to Create Your 2022 Marketing Calendar

If you’re ready to start working on your 2022 marketing calendar, follow these three simple steps:

Step 1: Plan

The first step is to define your goals and objectives. The more specific you are, the better results you’ll get—so it’s important to be very clear about what you hope to achieve.

While the ultimate goal of most fitness businesses is to generate more revenue—this can mean different things to different business owners.

Here are a few examples of objectives you may hope to achieve through your marketing efforts:

  • Generate 100 new membership leads this week
  • Sell 100 personal training services this month
  • Attract 350 new email subscribers this quarter

Step 2: Brainstorm

After you’ve defined your marketing objectives, you need to determine how you’re going to achieve them. You’ll also want to include fundamentals like launch dates for new services, courses, programs, or classes.

To help decide which marketing campaigns and tactics are the best fit for your fitness facility, give yourself a set timeframe to brainstorm and jot down as many ideas as you can. Once you’ve written all your ideas down, go back through your list and determine which ideas are best suited for your various marketing channels and platforms.

After you’ve created your list of marketing ideas and determined your communication channels and launch dates, it’s time to input all that information into your marketing calendar template.

Step 3: Schedule

Now that you’re equipped with a list of topic ideas, it’s time to organize, categorize, and schedule them in your marketing content calendar.

Your marketing calendar template can be structured a number of different ways, and it can be as simple or complex as you’d like. For example, some fitness businesses use basic spreadsheets to create their marketing calendar templates, while others utilize more innovative technology like gym management software.

Regardless of which format you choose, start by inputting any important topics/dates that aren’t flexible, like product launch deadlines or major industry events. Then, plug in some additional content ideas in the weeks leading up to the special date or event to build up the hype and excitement. Finally, add in your content ideas that aren’t tied to a specific date, and organize them by theme or category.

Conclusion

In today’s digital age, the effectiveness of your fitness marketing calendar can be maximized by measuring the results of each marketing campaign once it’s completed.

By analyzing historical data and performance metrics, you’ll be able to see which marketing campaigns were the most successful, whether or not they helped achieve your facility’s goals, and how quickly those goals were met.

This critical insight allows fitness business owners and team members to learn from past efforts in order to improve future performance, and to identify and avoid future potential pitfalls.

Did you know that EZFacility’s comprehensive report suite offers an in-depth look under the hood of your business–including financial, point-of-sale, marketing, payroll, membership and training reports?

Want to learn more? Schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour today.

TikTok Guide for Fitness Businesses

Why Fitness Businesses Should Be Leveraging TikTok

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

If you haven’t heard by now—TikTok is a pretty big deal. In fact, a recent report from Cloudflare announced that TikTok has overtaken Google as the world’s most visited online destination. Read that again. Yes, it’s really that popular.

So, if you’ve been wondering whether or not you should be using TikTok to promote your fitness business, read on to learn more about how TikTok works, what makes it so undeniably popular, and how a TikTok marketing plan can be used to grow your fitness business, keep your fitness brand engaging and relevant, and improve your bottomline.  

TikTok: A Brief History & Overview

The TikTok app was launched in 2017 for iOS and Android in most major global markets—and today, the social media platform boasts one billion active users across the world. Comparatively, it took Facebook and Instagram almost a decade to reach a user base that size.

While TikTok’s initial user base was almost entirely Gen Zs (born between 1997 and 2012), the app’s popularity surged worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic and has since captured the attention of users of all ages. 

In the U.S., TikTok’s user base is still dominated by Gen Zs, but it’s been attracting a strong following of millennials, too. As of April 2021, 48% of U.S. adults between 18-29 use TikTok, compared to 20% of adults between 30-49, and 14% of adults between 50–64, according to Pew Research Center.

TikTok’s tremendous growth, which was achieved within just a few short years, make the app one of the fastest-growing ever in terms of the percentage of the market it’s captured since its launch. And with the fitness industry’s transition to digital in the wake of the pandemic, a record-number of consumers are now turning to social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook as their primary sources of online fitness content.

How Does TikTok Work?

TikTok is a free, short-form video and social media app, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and is available for download on both Apple and Android devices. The major difference between TikTok and other social media platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, is that TikTok is based on small, short video clips.

Up until recently, TikTok videos were limited to 60 seconds in length; however, the app recently expanded video length up to 3 minutes long.

How to Create Longer TikTok Videos: A Step-By-Step Guide

If you’re wondering how to create longer TikTok videos to promote your fitness business, just follow this simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Open the TikTok app
  2. Click the plus (+) icon, and select the 3-minutes option. Then press the “Record” button to start creating your 3-minute video.
  3. Once you’re done recording, if you want to upload the video, simply click the “Upload” button.
  4. After recording and uploading your TikTok video, you have the option to add effects, transitions, and other edits as needed. Then, click “Save” to save the changes.
  5. Enter a description for the video, and be sure to include a few relevant hashtags.
  6. Once you’ve modified the output settings and completely finished with your video, click “Post” to share it.

If you encounter any issues recording or uploading your TikTok videos, make sure your app is updated to the latest version.

How Can I Use TikTok to Promote My Fitness Brand?

The impact that TikTok has on consumers’ attitudes about fitness brands, and the influence it has over their purchase decisions, is undeniable. In fact, the social media giant’s influence is so widely acknowledged that the phrase “TikTok made me buy it” has over 4.1 billion views of the hashtag on the app.

When utilized as a part of your larger social media marketing strategy, TikTok is a highly effective way to promote your fitness brand by creating fun video content, building a niche community, and tapping into a younger demographic. 

Here are three TikTok marketing strategies you can utilize to grow your fitness business:

1. Hashtag Challenge

One popular way to use TikTok marketing to promote your fitness business is by launching a hashtag challenge—meaning, you encourage other TikTok users to create, or re-create, fitness content that has your hashtag branded to it.

A hashtag challenge also boosts user interaction and drives engagement in the app, and it gives marketers a look into who’s interacting with their fitness content. By understanding who’s responding to and engaging with your fitness brand’s TikTok videos, you’ll be able to tweak your TikTok marketing strategies as needed to more effectively reach your target audience.

2. Collaborate With TikTok Influencers

Another marketing strategy fitness professionals are using to grow their TikTok user base and build brand credibility is to partner with TikTok influencers. While TikTok influencers may not have the same reach as influencers on other social media platforms (for example, Instagram) just yet, they’re quickly becoming a “thing” given the app’s surge in worldwide popularity.

Partnering with TikTok influencers that your target audience already knows and trusts is a great way to grow your TikTok user base, increase credibility, and drive sales.

3. Advertise on TikTok

While advertising on TikTok is a relatively new paid marketing option, TikTok ads can still help you reach a ton of users given the social media platform’s precise targeting capabilities.

Here are the four main types of advertising on TikTok:

  • Native Content: This type of ad is created to look and feel like a natural piece of the platform, and is found inside a TikTok user’s feed. It’s similar to Snapchat and Instagram story ads, and supports multiple features like app downloads and website clicks.
  • Brand Takeovers: A brand takeover is when other brands can take over a TikTok account for a day. Created for mass awareness, this type of ad guarantees extremely high reach and performance rates because it occupies the entire screen, is fully clickable, and the first thing a TikTok user will see when they log into the app.
  • Hashtag Promotion: A hashtag promotion gives you the ability to pay to promote a branded hashtag, which can help your fitness content go viral on TikTok.
  • Branded Lenses: TikTok’s branded lenses are similar to the AR offered by Snapchat and Instagram, and act like filters for faces and photos.

Conclusion

TikTok continues to surge in popularity, with a growing number of fitness professionals turning to the social media platform to promote their fitness business, increase brand awareness, expand their reach, and drive sales. TikTok is still new enough that it isn’t overly saturated with competing businesses, and it provides a huge opportunity for organic growth.

If you decide to start using TikTok to promote your fitness business—remember to have fun with it, and get creative!

For more fitness marketing tips and industry insight, click here to check out our other blogs.

Marketing Your Yoga Studio in 2022

Effectively Market Your Yoga Studio in 2022

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

The rising popularity of yoga means there’s a sizable industry behind it. In fact, the global yoga market size is expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.6% by 2027—meaning the yoga industry is estimated to be worth a staggering $66.22 billion by 2027.

Industry predictions also continue to show that yoga will remain a constant fixture in the list of global fitness trends for years to come. For yoga studio owners, this means there’s a lot of opportunity—as well as a lot of competition.

To start the New Year off on the right foot, it’s important to make sure that your yoga studio has a comprehensive marketing plan in place that reflects the fitness industry’s transition to digital, and that it includes specific marketing strategies that outline how you plan to reach your target audience across various marketing channels.

In this blog, we’ll discuss four key considerations to keep in mind when creating (or revamping) your yoga studio’s marketing plan. 

The Basics

The first step to developing a strong marketing plan for your yoga studio is to define your brand, your target audience, your business goals, and your competitors.

Clearly identifying and outlining this information is critical as it will be the foundation for your entire marketing plan—it will drive your marketing strategies, help you identify the best marketing channels and methods to use, as well as the tone and voice of your communications.

Remember—it’s important to set clear and measurable goals that align with your business objectives, because that’s what you’ll use later as a benchmark to gauge the success of your marketing campaigns.

Invest In Digital Marketing

We live in a digital world, and you should assume anyone who is interested in yoga and considering your studio will visit your website before deciding if they want to further engage with your business.

When building—or updating—your yoga studio’s website, remember to always keep your target audience in mind. Consider what type of tone and imagery will appeal to them, and make sure your website is visually appealing, engaging, and makes it as easy as possible to locate important information like your studio’s location, hours of operation, how to contact you, links to your social media accounts, and a description of your classes and class schedules.

Content Is Still King

To market your yoga studio effectively, you need to consistently create compelling content tailored to your target audience and what they care about—things like social media challenges, educational articles, blogs, newsletters, infographics, webinars or videos.

By creating a knowledge hub of resources and information about topics and trends that matter to potential customers, you’re more likely to be discovered by the right audience and to grow an engaged subscriber base.

Use the Right Yoga Studio Management Software

EZFacility’s powerful all-in-one yoga management software allows you to create custom yoga studio membership plans and packages, manage contracts and renewals, automate reminders, streamline and track marketing campaigns—and so much more!

To learn how we can help you maximize productivity, save time, increase cash flow, and achieve peace of mind, schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour today!

Catering to Fitness New Year’s Resolutions

Keep Your Fitness Members Engaged Well Into the New Year

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Despite everything that’s been changing in the world—one thing most people still tend to agree on is that the beginning of each new year is “the time” (of all times) for us all to be optimistic, to set new short- and long-term goals, and to commit to improving ourselves and/or our respective circumstances over the course of the new year.

And so, every year, millions of people make fitness resolutions on New Year’s Eve and commit to joining a gym, working out more often, losing weight, and improving overall health.

But with 2022 just a few days away—it’s still a pretty stressful time for all of us, isn’t it? We’re all encouraged to find ways to be optimistic—while also grappling with the realization that January 2022 means the COVID-19 pandemic has been a global scourge for almost two full years now—and none of us really know what’s going to happen as the Omicron variant continuing to spread worldwide. 

If you run a gym or fitness center, you’re most likely wondering what you can do to help keep your members optimistic, engaged, and motivated to pursue their long-term fitness goals throughout the year—and how you can avoid the dreaded member drop off as peoples’ commitments to their New Year’s resolutions begin to wane during the first few months of the year.

Here are a four retention strategies you can use to reach members before they get to that point:

1. Focus On the Member Experience

Today’s consumers are more empowered than ever, making it that much more important for you to focus on the customer experience you provide.

The member experience begins at the first point of contact with customers, and encompasses all of the touch points throughout the customer journey.

To ensure you’re providing a positive member experience, you need to continuously offer motivation, encouragement, exceptional customer support, and provide an atmosphere and community they can’t find anywhere else.

For more: The Importance of Member Experience, Now More Than Ever

2. Adopt the Hybrid Model

The hybrid model has become the new norm in the fitness industry—and that won’t be changing any time soon.

With the lingering uncertainty around the omicron variant of the coronavirus and the very real potential we may all be faced with another round of forced business closures and stay-at-home-orders, the hybrid gym model continues to makes a lot of sense—for you and your members.

On top of that, online training is ranked as the top fitness trend by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)—and the demand for hybrid fitness options will only continue to increase as consumers’ have become accustomed to the flexibility it provides.

For more: Hybrid Fitness Ideas for the Holiday Season & Demand for Digital Fitness Options Remains High

3. Host Fitness Challenges & Competitions

Fitness challenges and competitions are a proven way to boost member engagement and retention. They also help generate new leads, encourage referrals and maximize customer loyalty.

When it comes to fitness and workout challenges, the opportunities are limitless. You can choose to structure them any way you’d like, and it’s a great way to keep your online and offline customers engaged by creating a sense of community and rewarding members for participation.

For more: 5 Tips to Consider When Developing A Fitness Challenge

4. Ask How They’re Doing!

The best way to know how your members are doing and feeling is to ask them. Requesting feedback after key touchpoints during the customer journey shows your members you care about their experience and how they’re doing, beyond just securing their initial sign-up.

A general feedback/customer satisfaction survey is a way for you to check in with your members throughout the year to show you still value their input, and are actively looking for ways to continue improving their member experience. That extra point of communication also helps keep them motivated and working toward their fitness goals.

For more: How to Collect Customer Testimonials and Build Trust

Conclusion

As the buzz around New Year’s resolutions begins to fade in the months to come—consider implementing the retention strategies we covered above to keep members optimistic, engaged, and working toward their long-term fitness goals throughout the year.

To learn how EZFacility’s comprehensive software solution can help you manage member communication and tracking with ease, schedule a free personalized product tour.

Benefits of SMS Marketing in 2022

What is SMS Marketing and What Are the Benefits?

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Some fitness businesses are going “old school” and reverting back to a much simpler, highly effective, yet often underappreciated marketing tool—the good ole’ text message.

Given the increasingly competitive digital fitness landscape, it makes sense that SMS marketing is making a strong comeback, especially in the fitness industry.

In this blog, we’ll revisit the basics of SMS messaging, talk about why text message marketing is so effective, and discuss some of the key advantages of SMS marketing campaigns to promote your fitness business.

What Is Text Message Marketing?

Text message marketing—also referred to as SMS marketing—is when businesses send text messages to promote their products and services to consumers, provide important updates, and to maintain ongoing communication with their target audience to keep their fitness business top-of-mind. 

Text message marketing has come a long way since the early 2000s, and today it’s one of the most highly effective, and cost effective, marketing methods available.

And although text message marketing and email marketing work similarly—data shows that SMS marketing campaigns consistently outperform its modern-day counterpart, despite its simple and straightforward nature.

Does Text Message Marketing Really Work?

The short answer is—yes. And here’s why.

With the overwhelming majority of Americans (97%) now owning some type of mobile phone, and approximately 85% of mobile phone users having smart phones—everyone’s more connected, and constantly connected, than ever before.

And if you have a phone—which, statistically speaking, you almost certainly do—you know firsthand that a text message is nearly possible to ignore.

Don’t worry—you aren’t the only one who just can’t resist the urge. In fact, 98% of all text messages are opened—and, on top of that, 95% of text messages are read and responded to within 3 minutes of being received. Those are outstanding performance rates by anyone’s standards. 

Benefits of Text Message Marketing

Below are four key advantages of SMS marketing, and how it can help you grow your fitness business.

1. Cost effective

While text message marketing campaigns can sometimes be more expensive than email marketing campaigns (depending on your service provider)—they’re typically less expensive than many paid ad options, especially on popular social media platforms. And because SMS messaging campaigns offer such a high ROI, they’re considered cost-effective. 

2. Attract new customers

You can use text message marketing to attract new members to your fitness facility by offering a free day at the gym, or some free swag if they sign up to receive texts. If you’re currently using a gym management software that offers text message automation, you can easily schedule follow-up texts to be sent to those who didn’t fully complete the online sign up form. 

3. Upsell current customers

It’s often much easier to upsell existing members than it is to attract new ones. Because you want your members to get the most out of your gym, you need to make sure they’re aware of everything your facility has to offer. Use SMS messaging to inform existing customers of the benefits and added value of upgrading their memberships. 

4. Increase conversion rates

The average text message conversion rate is 30%—whereas the average email marketing conversion rate is 3.26%. Even more impressive, text message marketing’s conversion rates rose 102% YoY in 2020.

Conclusion

At a time when so many fitness business owners are still completely consumed trying to transition products and services online, while also redefining their business models to meet changing needs, something we can all learn from the ongoing success of text message marketing is that, sometimes, keeping it simple really is best.

To learn more about how EZFacility’s text message automation makes it easier than ever for business owners to connect with members, grow relationships, increase conversions, and drive sales, schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour.

Hybrid Fitness

Hybrid Fitness Ideas for the Holiday Season

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

The end of the year is a busy time for everyone, and it can be difficult even for avid gym-goers to maintain their usual in-person workout routines during the holiday season. In an earlier blog, we talked about the hybrid fitness model and the benefits it offers to both business owners and members—and the demand for virtual classes and online training is projected to keep rising as we enter the new year. 

In this blog, we’ll talk about five ways to maximize your hybrid fitness offerings to keep members active, engaged and on-track to meet their fitness goals throughout the holiday season.

1. Continue Offering Hybrid Fitness Options

Now that most gyms and fitness studios are back to operating from their brick-and-mortar locations, some business owners may be tempted to scale back on virtual classes and other digital offerings. But in actuality—there are a number reasons why continuing to offer hybrid fitness options can positively impact on your bottomline.

Online training is ranked as the top fitness trend by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), meaning the demand for hybrid fitness options will remain high throughout the holiday season and as we enter the New Year. When your members’ schedules are packed with holiday prep, events, and travel, they’ll appreciate the ability to continue working out from home while still feeling connected to the community.

2. Market Your Virtual Classes & Digital Offerings

You should start promoting your virtual classes and any holiday promos you plan to run as soon as possible. Utilize all of your marketing channels to get the word out and highlight the benefits of at-home workouts.

A few ideas include:

  • Update your website to include your facility’s holiday schedule
  • Post regularly on your social media accounts and share information that highlights the benefits of at-home workouts.
  • Include links to sign up for virtual classes and where to access your on-demand library in your newsletters and social media posts

3. Tailor to Busy Schedules

One way to help members stick to their workout routines is to offer shorter classes during the holiday season. While many fitness classes can traditionally run between 50-60 minutes, consider offering shorter classes (anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes) during the holidays to give your clients more opportunities to fit their favorite ones into their hectic schedules.

4. Test New Class Types & Group Fitness Workouts

The holiday season is a great time to get creative and to test out new hybrid fitness offerings. The holidays are all about festivity, so lean into it and have fun. For example, consider adding a 15–20-minute relaxation and stretching routine to your digital library and market it as a way to unwind and alleviate some of the holiday stress. Any time you test a new class, be sure to follow up with your members to get customer feedback so you can gauge client interest and class success.

5. How You Communicate Matters

When your members opt to participate in virtual classes, fitness instructors can’t greet clients individually or offer tailored feedback the same way they’re able to during in-person workouts—but that doesn’t mean they can’t still create a sense of community and make class participants feel supported and encouraged.

Be sure to remind your fitness instructors that creating a welcoming digital environment is just as important as doing so for in-person classes. You should also ask them to explain each movement and modifications in advance so that members of all fitness levels feel comfortable and will be able to participate.

Conclusion

The holiday season can be a challenging time for facility owners and members alike. Help your clients stay on-track and engaged by utilizing the hybrid fitness model to offer flexible workout options that can be done in-person or from the comfort of home. When handled effectively, virtual classes can have a big impact on your gym’s profitability, while also keeping your members happy and their needs met.

To learn how EZFacility’s comprehensive gym management software can help save you time and money during the holiday season, schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour.

5 Key Performance Indicators for Fitness Businesses

Top 5 KPIs for Any Fitness Business

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics used to gauge progress toward a desired goal or target, and they provide focus for strategic and operational improvement by establishing an analytic baseline by which to measure success. By tracking and analyzing these important values, you’ll be able to visually assess how effectively you’re meeting your fitness center’s goals and objectives.

But with so much data out there, how do fitness business owners decide which metrics matter, and which ones to track? Read on to learn five of the most popular KPIs used for operations financial benchmarking, increasing conversion rates, improving client retention rates, and managing facility center growth.

1. Revenue per Client/Member

The #1 most tracked KPI for gym and fitness studio owners is Revenue per Client (RPC), a simple calculation determined by dividing annual revenue by number of clients. RPC is a quick way for business owners to determine how many members they will need to be profitable, which then allows them to design marketing strategies with quantifiable goals.

2. Average Class Attendance

Average Class Attendance (ACA) measures the percentage of gym goers who attend fitness classes (spin, yoga, Pilates, etc.) on a daily basis. This KPI is extremely important because group class offerings are one of the largest draws and biggest selling points for many gyms and health club owners. Understanding your facility’s ACA is also critical because it will determine the breakeven point and profitability of each class, allowing you to adjust your class offerings and frequency accordingly.

3. Client Retention Rate

Client Retention Rate measures the percentage of total members retained at the end of each reporting period. Your client retention rate is a critical KPI because it’s directly linked to overall profitability and long-term success. For example, if you notice your client retention rate is low, you’ll want to identify the cause as quickly as possible to remedy it and reduce the likelihood of future loss.

4. Profit Margin

Profit Margin (PM), which is calculated as a percentage of sales, tells you how much money you have left after paying the costs to run your fitness center. Reviewing the PM for all elements of your business allows you to see which areas are profitable, and which may be lacking. Identifying the areas that need improvement give you the opportunity to consider what changes can be implemented, or what additional programs or elements can be added, to turn those numbers around.

5. Average Daily Attendance

Average Daily Attendance, cited as a top KPI by nearly a quarter of fitness studio owners, tells you how many people come to your health club or fitness center, on average, per day. While this is a popular metric to track, it lacks the same level of insight as other KPIs because it doesn’t tell you why they came in, or when they came.

Conclusion

While the five Key Performance Indicators we addressed in this blog are specific to the fitness industry, KPIs are relevant and applicable to all businesses to ensure long-term viability and profitability. EZFacility’s extensive reporting suite can help you get an in-depth look under the hood of your business–including financial, point-of-sale, marketing, payroll, membership and training reports. Schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour to learn more

Fitness Equipment: Lease or Buy?

As a Gym Owner, Should you Lease or Buy Fitness Equipment?

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

To run a gym or workout facility, you’re going to need some fitness equipment. But many gym owners struggle with the decision of whether to buy or lease gym equipment. Members choose which gym to join based on several factors, but one of the most important variables is the equipment that’s available.

Whether you’re just starting out, or looking to make upgrades to your existing facility, there’s a lot of thought that needs to go into your equipment. Gym-goers want to see fitness equipment that’s modern, up-to-date, and user-friendly. You also want your inventory to attract new members, while still meeting the needs of current clients.

Your fitness equipment is arguably one of the most important decisions you’ll make—and has the potential to be one of the most expensive aspects of your business—so to help you decide which option is right for you, this blog will cover some of the pros and cons of buying gym equipment versus leasing equipment.

BUYING GYM EQUIPMENT

The main difference between buying gym equipment versus leasing equipment comes down to ownership. When you choose to purchase the equipment, that ownership can add value to your fitness center in several ways.

Pros of buying gym equipment:

  • You can customize it: Deciding on the aesthetics of your fitness facility is one of the most fun parts of opening a gym. If you purchase your gym equipment, you can customize it by choosing colors and branding your inventory to match the overall look and feel you want. Creating a cohesive environment also helps build a sense of community, which is attractive to both current and prospective members.
  • It gives you an asset: Ownership of fitness equipment is an asset, which becomes especially important for gym owners who decide to sell their fitness facility. The added value of owning your fitness equipment means you can ask for a higher selling price, and it may also entice buyers who don’t want to spend the time or money to find new inventory.
  • You can sell it to offset upgrade costs: Buying gym equipment is expensive, but another benefit to owning your own fitness equipment is that you can sell it to help offset upgrade costs. Not only does this help lessen the financial burden, it also keeps your facility modern and up-to-date, which is attractive to both current and potential new members.  

Cons of buying gym equipment:

  • High initial purchase price: Whether you purchase the equipment entirely out of pocket or have to make a large down payment on a loan, the initial purchase price will require a large amount of your cash reserves. Purchasing loans that require high monthly payments can also put pressure on future cash flows of your business.
  • Maintenance & upkeep costs: When you own your own fitness equipment, you’re the one responsible for covering repairs and maintenance costs. In addition to costing even more money, this can also be inconvenient for your members when the fitness equipment is unavailable.

LEASING EQUIPMENT

While buying gym equipment can offer several benefits like we talked about earlier, it’s not always the best option for gym owners. Leasing equipment can offer greater flexibility, and help you stay ahead of competitors.

Pros of leasing equipment:

  • Lower upfront cost: One of the biggest benefits to leasing equipment is the lower upfront costs required. Although some lease terms may require first and last month’s payment right away, the cost will still be lower than buying gym equipment.
  • Tax benefits: If you have an operating lease, you should be eligible to write off your monthly lease payments as an operating expense on your tax return per The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017. By deducting the monthly payments from your revenue, you’ll lower your taxable income.
  • Flexibility to upgrade more frequently: When business owners decide to purchase the equipment, they’ll most likely keep the inventory for as long as possible. This means there’s a greater likelihood for the equipment to become outdated, or in constant need of repair. Leasing equipment provides greater flexibility for upgrades since the lease term is usually shorter than the equipment’s lifespan.

Cons of leasing equipment:

  • Lack of ownership: The only reason for not leasing equipment is that you won’t have ownership of it. Some lease agreements allow equipment to be considered an asset (with corresponding liability) on the balance sheet, but that doesn’t mean you own it. Unless your lease includes an option to purchase the equipment for a reduced price at the end of the lease, you’ll need to return it once your contract period is up.

CONCLUSION

Deciding whether to buy or lease gym equipment can be daunting, but it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a fitness business owner. To figure out which option is best for you, you’ll need to thoroughly consider your fitness center’s needs and available resources to determine which approach makes sense for your business at any stage of growth.

To learn how EZFacility’s gym management software can help you stay organized and on top of your finances so you can successfully grow your business, schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour.